Reminder: Always double check the lineup card before rosters lock to make sure that a player you've chosen to roster is playing that day, and check the weather to make sure your players won't get rained out of their game.
Stephen Strasburg ($10,000) vs San Diego Padres
There is a danger in relying on a small sample size, but Stephen Strasburg has looked absolutely fantastic since coming off the DL, and that is not just with small sample statistics. I have loved what I have seen from his stuff since coming back; for one example, look at this curve he threw in *Coors Field* in his last start:
His change up has also looked incredible, and his fastball has averaged nearly 96 mph.
A look at his 90 mph change up post DL:
Touching 98 mph:
And a hellacious curve:
This is what Strasburg has compiled on the stat sheet since his return from the DL:
3 starts off the DL for Strasburg (one in Coors Field): 34% K%, 3% BB%, 1.35 ERA. 95.7 mph fastball velo— Timothy Finnegan (@TimFinn521) August 20, 2015
He's also had a gigantic spike in swinging strike rate, from 8.2% in starts prior this year to an elite 17% post DL. The huge increase in swinging strikes aligns with the "eye test" of his stuff being nastier.
Again, it's a small sample size, but maybe the rest on the DL has helped him physically.
Strasburg pitches against the Padres at home in Washington today. The Padres have the 7th highest K% vs RHP on the year at 21.5% and it comes with a bottom third wRC+ vs RHP at 92 (which may be overstating them because PetCo has played much more hitter friendly this year in terms of park effects). Strasburg has also pitched significantly better at home than on the road throughout his career, and there could be something to that. Jared Diamond in the WSJ recently wrote about Noah Syndergaard's home/road splits:
But in designing his schedule, Syndergaard missed one key detail: On the road, the Mets bat first, meaning he must sit idly for an additional 20 minutes or more before taking the mound.
The same could be the problem for Strasburg: his 2.61 career home ERA is over a full run lower than his 3.76 road ERA. Strasburg is the fourth priced pitcher on the slate, and at $10,000, isn't a killer in terms of salary cap space.
OF- Bryce Harper ($4,900) vs James Shields
Shields has faced 332 LHB this year and has allowed a .277/.356/.524 slash line with a 5.70 FIP. Harper's 208 wRC+ vs RHP is reminiscent of Babe Ruth and he combines it with a .345 ISO. Matching up Harper's killer production vs RHP with Shields' ineffectiveness vs LHB is likely a recipe for success.
Mets stack vs Jerome Williams
It would be almost impossible for me to fathom recommending a Mets hitting stack even as recently as mid July but the Mets have significantly upgraded their formerly awful offense in a short time: they've traded for Yoenis Cespedes, Kelly Johnson, and Juan Uribe, called up talented rookie Michael Conforto, got back Travis d'Arnaud and Daniel Murphy off the DL and just yesterday brought back the greatest hitter in franchise history by FanGraphs' offense statistic, David Wright, who promptly parked one into the upper deck in Philly at 108 mph off the bat in his very first PA.
Jerome Williams is probably the least effective pitcher in today's game (he has an ERA over 6 and a FIP in the mid 5s) and the ball was flying out of the park last night in the hot August weather in Philly. Two guys that stick out to me based on pricing are:
Curtis Granderson ($3,300)
Granderson is hitting RHP to a 155 wRC+ and .238 ISO this year and bats leadoff, giving him a good chance at receiving extra PAs and extra cracks at Williams.
Michael Conforto ($2,700)
Conforto, a top 20 prospect in the game, has a .270/.365/.508 slash line and .238 ISO after a double in a pinch hitting appearance last night and owns a 150 wRC+ vs RHP. The sample is small on Conforto at the MLB level, but I love his swing, pitch selection and approach at the plate, and the data has been terrific so far to combine with a strong prospect pedigree.
$2,800 and under
SS- Jhonny Peralta ($2,400) vs Robbie Ray
Peralta has hit LHP to a 137 wRC+/.233 ISO in 281 PA dating back to the start of 2014. He faces Robbie Ray, who has been about average vs RHB this year. Peralta gets a big park upgrade in Chase Field and provides salary relief to spend elsewhere.
3B- Todd Frazier ($2,800) vs Alex Wood
Frazier has hit LHP to a 131 wRC+/.272 ISO in 272 PA dating back to the start of 2014 and will be playing at home in Great American Ballpark, a strong hitter's park. Wood has faced 475 RHB this year and is allowing a below average .290/.368/.420 slash with a 4.06 FIP.
C- John Jaso ($2,200) vs Ervin Santana
Jaso is priced at the FD minimum and has hit RHP to a 129 wRC+/.173 ISO since the start of 2014. Santana has not been effective in his return after a drug suspension, posting a .272/.352/.523 slash line against LHB with a 6.44 FIP.
You can follow me on Twitter at @TimFinn521